Hermana Wood's Missionary Adventures in the "Capital of the Peruvian Amazon"


Monday, December 26, 2016

Last Transfer Starts Today!

we've had so much success proselyting with the church's "light the world" initiative that i'm very sad the christmas season is coming to a close. we don't have ipads, but we've been able to use the "light the world" video as a teaching tool, anyway. in fact, we've gotten pretty creative! we knock on doors and ask people if we can come into their homes, insert our USB drive into their TVs, and watch a short christmas video with them. and, lo and behold! almost everyone says "yes!" it's been the best! :)

said goodbye to hermana walker this week - she's headed home!

last pic of the zone in the airport!

we taught our investigator, indira, this week about service and invited her to do something christ-centered for christmas. she not only accepted the invitation but proceeded to share with us her thoughts on how some people are service-oriented and others are not. she has a lot of time to think (basically homebound with legs that don't function), and it was interesting to hear her perspective on the world and the people in it. listening to indira was humbling and really helped us to see into her heart. she is one of those amazing people without guile; someone who is truly good all the way through, not just superficially. i admire that so much about indira, and i'm so excited for her to be baptized!

we did service with a recent convert, norlith, and her kiddos!
she wanted to give us all of her lunch, but we told her no way jose.
she is so kind!

the aguierre family: a family of SIX lives in this little room!
it makes me so grateful for everything that i have!

today starts my last transfer! SIX MORE WEEKS, and i'll be coming home!! love you all!!!

hermana wood

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas in Tarapoto

hola, friends and familia! it's getting harder and harder to write these group e-mails; so much is happening every day! to really fill you in, i'd be typing for hours. ;) but, i'll try to condense it!

while we were proselyting this week, trying to find new people to teach (because we have very few), we found family #1. they were uninterested, but we asked them if they knew of anyone else (friends or neighbors) who might like to hear a christmas message. family #1 sent us two houses down to family #2, where a 16-year-old and her parents told us they were 7th day adventists. we kindly asked them for a referral of someone we might teach, and they sort of gestured across the street.

across the street, we chose a house with a woman out front. when she saw us approaching, she ran inside and literally hid behind her door. we said "hola!" and, she turned off the light. ;) my companion, hermana briggs, sighed: "you choose the next contact, because i can't seem to get it right!"

we then talked with a woman who doesn't celebrate christmas, because "it's such a worldly holiday" (and she refused to hear differently).

we kept walking.

then, we went to the house of a mother and her son. the mom, lucy, came right up to the door and said "hola, amigas!" we talked to her about the "light the world" initiative, and she seemed interested. we set up a return appointment, which she wasn’t home for, but we'll be going back soon! it was such a relief to talk to someone like lucy! moral of the story: even when the rejection is discouraging, keep pushing through! because, somewhere you have a lucy waiting for you. :)

all the sisters in tarapoto

our zone! merry christmas!

the two zones in tarapoto!

in other news, we had our christmas zone conference this week! president and hermana li couldn't be there, which was really sad. also, i was asked to give a 25-minute training, which was nerve wrecking. but then, i had the privilege of accompanying our zone on the piano (twice) for our christmas performances. that was so fun! i also played a solo piece, "o come, o come, emmanuel," for the two zones. i think it really helped us feel the christmas spirit!

our investigator's house flooded,
but we made the best of it!

indira, who will be baptized the 28th of january :)

last but not least, our investigator, inidra, came to church!!! it was difficult for her, because (remember) she can't really walk, but we arranged for a member to pick her up. she stayed all three hours, even though her foot started swelling really bad. i grabbed a garbage can, and we propped that foot right up on top of it, haha. she loved coming to church and is still good to be baptized on january 28th! :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! celebrate it to the fullest! i hope you've all been able to "light the world" during this special season! love you!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's dad:
i can't believe i only have seven more weeks here - so crazy. time is flying! briggs and i are pretty sure she is going to be transferred, so we are sad. :( i'll be directing the area, then, after just six weeks being in it (plus, my responsibilities as sister leader). trying to learn all the streets still!

souvenir shopping with some of my christmas money :)

i feel recently like i've gotten better at teaching with the spirit and feeling the spirit in the lessons. it's harder than you'd think it would be as a missionary! there are so many things to do in a single lesson, and you sometimes feel like you're fighting for the investigator's attention or even their understanding (just because that's how some people are here). but, the spirit is so important. teaching with it is a skill so necessary for missionary work; i'm really striving to be in tune with the spirit! LOVE YOU.

we climb for our coconuts :)

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
this week, noemi told us that she'd been talking with her aunt, who told her that she shouldn't listen to us anymore. it was such a sad appointment. this whole week, we continue facing lots of rejection. we aren't getting discouraged, but it's hard. that night, after noemi told us she couldn't change churches, we went home at 9pm, and i sobbed for a good half hour. i just wanted everyone to have the gospel and was so sad for those who don't accept or those who haven't even heard about the restoration. i thought of the scripture in nephi, where he says his eyes wet his pillow every night because of the wickedness of his people. or the one about the sons of mosiah, where they quake and tremble at the thought that any one soul would have to endure endless torment. that's exactly what i felt, and i've never felt that way before. it was a strangely spiritual experience - i just felt so much love for everyone in the world who didn't have the gospel. i love this work truly, with all my heart. and i love YOU!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Under the Mistletoe

under the mistletoe

the christmas package i received from home is definitely going straight to my waistline. but, i am so grateful to have all of that chocolate! :) briggs and i have stayed up late a few nights, just sitting on the floor and partaking. i feel fine, haha. but, january is definitely going to be fitness crunch time!

weekly planning requires guanabana

we had a wonderful week as far as the work goes! we hit basically all of our key indicator goals, which is always exciting. we've been praying to find families, and god is hearing our prayers! we contacted a woman last night, named noemi, who is so ready for the gospel. she's never been baptized and wants to belong to "a church," so we're teaching her about priesthood authority and what makes the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints different from other churches. she's awesome!

the leaves used to make juanes

indira is one of our latest and greatest contacts. she has a disease that prevents her from walking very well, and she has limited use of her hands. it's really sad, because she lives alone with her dog, and every time we come over, she asks us to walk her dog or put her hair up in a bun (since she can't lift her arms). but, it's been such a privilege to serve her! she always reads the BOM and has accepted the invitation to be baptized on january 28th. :) we are so excited!

we taught a cute family...
and the kids wanted pictures with the gringas!

this sunday i was shocked to realize how few sundays i have left in this branch! throughout my mission, i've gradually gotten to the point where i feel comfortable in different wards, but in this branch, i've felt at home since day one. the area is great, my comp is great, our investigators are great, and the members are my family! i can't believe how soon this will all be ending! i'm going to miss everyone so much!

invited to lunch by the greatest members! :)

p.s. love you, fam! see you in two weeks on skyyyyyype!

hermana wood

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bread of Life

ice cream with my companion

i went to my first leadership council this week - we flew in to iquitos. it was interesting! and, it was so good seeing everyone again! i got to stay with the best hermana (vazquez) and also sleep on a floor (which i haven't done for a while). :) i woke up to kill a bug crawling across my face and, in the morning, to a huge cockroach next to my mattress!! i've missed iquitos, haha!!

hermana vasquez! and my old zone reunited!

the sister leaders of the mission

so, this saturday, we had a long day. honest to goodness, it was HARD! at one point, my companion (hermana briggs) just looked up at the sky and said in exasperation: "i feel like i've given EVERYTHING today." we had two members to accompany us, but every appointment fell through. all FIVE of them. we were so tired (it was like 8:40pm), but we decided to contact one more house.

a super nice guy who lived at the last house seemed willing to talk to us and (even better) had a knowledge of the bible. i was so excited when he said "i know the bible talks about 'other sheep' that jesus had" - PERFECT, i thought. :) i told him about the BOM and that the "other sheep" were the nephites on the american continent. i poured my heart into that contact, and he replied (in short) "thanks, but i'm 7th day adventist." (he didn't want to hear more.) my heart broke. but, then he said "wait one minute!" and went back into his house. i put my head in my hands and with tears in my eyes (after a long and discouraging day) wondered" "why? why don't people listen?"

when the man returned, he gave us two homemade slices of whole wheat bread - which may seem like a small gesture to you at home, but for two missionaries in the amazon jungle, it was the most amazing, most appreciated gift EVER!!! i was so touched.

anyway, even if people aren't ready for the gospel, god watches out for us. although that man didn't accept our message, father in heaven wanted to see if we had enough faith to try knocking on one more door before going home. we did, and he rewarded us - not in the way i thought he would, but he did. and, i was so grateful.

p-day journey in the "cloud forest"

next best thing to monterey's lone cypress!

beautiful tarapoto!!

merry christmas, everyone!! light the world, do something kind for someone, and CELEBRATE THE SEASON!!!

hermana wood

More from this week's message to Hermana Wood's mom:
hey, mom!! i'm so good!! we didn't get to go to lima on the way to iquitos - maybe in january! it was still so fun, though - a really good refresher! today we are going to practice the song we'll be singing for the christmas zone conference. i'm going to accompany on the piano - its like a medley of a bunch of christmas songs. it's going to be cool! hopefully we can film it!! the only problem is there's NO time for me to practice (except on p-days), haha. too much proselyting (just kidding)! ;)

my district loved the trees!!! :)

also, when i flew to iquitos for leadership council, i picked up my christmas package - and loved it!! thank you so much for everything you sent! and, for putting in the time to put everything together!! so excited to give the HLJ rings out (thanks, mimi)!! i am so grateful!!! i put all the wrapped stuff under my little tree from last year. :) also, HOW DID YOU KNOW I WANTED MUDDY BUDDIES???? seriously you receive revelation for these packages. LOVE YOU.

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